LECKHAMPTON netball ace Harriet Sanderson is relishing the prospect of Commonwealth Games fever gripping both Birmingham and beyond.
The countdown to this summer’s showpiece in the second city is well and truly on, with less than 100 days to go until the action kicks off in July.
And Wasps Academy star Sanderson, 19, who is two years into her Physiotherapy degree at the University of Birmingham, can see the atmosphere building.
“It’s all right where I’m living, right on my doorstep which is really exciting,” said the Gloucestershire athlete.
“Everyone’s getting more excited as it’s getting closer, the weather is getting nicer and it’s getting to summer. A lot of students are volunteering at the Games as well, and will be working there and seeing it first hand.
“Our uni is hosting a few things as well for the Commonwealth Games – such as hockey – so we can see all the adverts coming. It’s really exciting!
“We won at the last Commonwealth Games so I think it will be really exciting to have some big games as well and have it right on my doorstep!”
Sanderson’s career is financially supported by a partnership between Entain – owner of Ladbrokes and Coral – and SportsAid, set up in 2019 and part of the company’s innovative Pitching In initiative.
England’s netball triumph in Gold Coast – over host nation Australia – was one of the standout moments of the last Commonwealth Games four years ago.
The Red Roses’ triumph dramatically increased the profile of the sport within the UK, something that Sanderson recognised in the aftermath of the victory.
And four years on, Sanderson is still inspired by that success as she looks to continue her rise up the netballing ranks and scale the Team England heights in future.
The former Severn Stars ace added: “I remember going into it, thinking: ‘We know who’s going to win this – Australia.’ And then watching it in the morning and realising that we’re drawing, and actually maybe we can win.
“The shivers down your body when Helen got that last shot in was really exciting. Hopefully they can pull out another performance like that this year.
“I found even just chatting to my friends and parents of my friends, they never really realised how netball could be until they watched the Commonwealth Games at Gold Coast.
“They realised that it’s actually quite fast-paced, it’s actually quite a physical game which is nice, to get appreciation from other people who don’t play. It definitely got more interest, more people playing.
“Seeing the players enjoying the sport, you can see how happy they are, how excited they are when they are playing and how they celebrate as a team.
“It just makes me think how grateful I am for the friendships I’ve got in netball and how much I really want to be there celebrating such a big win like that with my friends.”
Entain, owner of Ladbrokes and Coral, is proud to be championing the next generation of British sporting heroes by providing talented young athletes with financial support and personal development opportunities in partnership with SportsAid. Visit entaingroup.com to find out more.